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Thugra Khothan (Earth-616)

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Three thousand years before the birth of Conan, the empires of Stygia and Acheron covered much of what would become known as the Hyborian World. Both were ruled by a class of powerful sorcerers. One of them was Thugra Khotan, ruler of the autonomous city of Kuthchemes. He supervised the customary human sacrifices to Set, offering hundred of lives to his deity.

Eventually both empires were invaded by barbarians from the north, the Hyborian tribes (ancestors of the Aquilonians, Nemedians, Kothians, etc.). The mass invasion left Acheron in ruins and Stygia a mere rump state. Kuthchemes too fell to the Hyborians. Thugra Khotan was unable to save his people, including his lover Bas-Tet who was slain in the fall of the city.

In the final moments of the city, Thugra Khotan willingly swallowed a mysterious poison. Its effects locked him in a death-like sleep. His priests sealed the body in the tomb the sorcerer-king had already prepared for himself. They invaders were soon able to kill the priests but failed to open the tomb.

Over the following millennia, the name Thugra Khotan lived on in legend. A cult of worshipers viewed him as an incarnation of the god Zug and fashioned his images in coinage. While generations of thieves tried to enter the tomb and payed with their lives and sanity. At last, within the lifetime of Conan, master thief Shevatas accomplished the mission. Unfortunately for him, his successful entry awoke the sleeping sorcerer-king.

Thugra-Khotan was undead. He walked once again among the living, but the flesh in his face had considerably decayed. He started covering his face in public ("the veiled one"), created the new name of Natohk (Khotan spelled backwards), and set himself on a mission to create a new kingdom.

Posing as a prophet and using his sorcery, "Natohk" manage to unite a rag-tag group of desert nomads, Stygian exiles, and mercenaries into a coherent fighting force. Several small city-states fell to his raiders. His coveted prize, however, was the kingdom of Khoraja and its princess-regent Yasmela. The woman resembled Bas-tet and Natohk lusted after her.

Eventually the armies of Natohk and Yasmela faced each other in battle. Her forces included newly-appointed general Conan, the mercenary Red Sonja, and the sorcerer Zula. While the Khorajan cavalry fell victim to a magical version of landmine field, Khotan personally abducted Yasmela. Leaving his troops unsupervised in the process.

While the battle raged, Zula used the Darkhold against Natohk. Weakened and cut-off from his army, the sorcerer found himself facing Conan in single combat. He died by the sword.


Able to cast spells and perform magic.

Thugra Khotan is one of the characters created by Robert E. Howard. He first appeared in the story "Black Colossus" (June, 1933). In "Savage Sword of Conan" #2, Roy Thomas delivered a straight-forward adaptation of the original tale.

In "Conan the Barbarian" #245-249 (June-October, 1991) retold the story in a considerably expanded and revised version. He added Sonja, Zula, and the Darkhold to the plot. The spells of Zula were used to explain why Natohk could not simply escape his final duel. He was effectively locked in place by magic.

Roy Thomas revisited Thungra Khotan's backstory in "Savage Sword of Conan" #229.

In both the original story and its adaptations, Natohk is accompanied by an ape-like demon only known as "Natohk's emissary". It had a cameo, alongside many demons, in Journey into Mystery Vol 1 627

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